The brunch at Briar Common Brewery and Eatery (2298 Clay St) is anything but common. The place is first and foremost a brewery, which means you'll have at least ten unique brews to choose from to pair with your weekend meal. The Briar American Pale Ale is a rich and malty crowd favorite — and it’s also the beer that started it all, before brothers Kent and Greg Dawson created the concept of Briar Common and eventually opened in the Jefferson Park neighborhood in October 2016. “Home brewing sparked everything, and in 2013 we decided to follow our dreams — and here we are,” says Kent, co-owner and operations manager.
Greg, the other owner and head brewer, is also a certified cicerone, the beer equivalent of a sommelier. Beers range from the unusual Sour Seoul kimchi-inspired sour chile ale to the more familiar Broken Bridge hazy IPA. The Sour Seoul starts as a light sour beer, but packs a little heat a few seconds after the first sip. It’s great in a flight or with a rich dish, or if you’re looking for a new unusual beer to try.
For a more traditional brunch beverage, Briar Common provides bottomless mimosas with either orange, cranberry or grapefruit juice, but your bartender will happily mix any variation for you. Nor does the bar overlook the Bloody Mary; in fact, Briar Common's should come with a warning, as it might actually qualify as a small meal. The traditional cocktail comes topped with a shrimp corn dog, a slider and a strip of bacon.
Brunch has been served at Briar Common since the brewpub opened nearly two years ago. Chicken and waffles are a crowd favorite, which is understandable once you see the dish. A Liege-style waffle is topped with two large pieces of fried chicken and a delightfully sweet blackberry syrup. The chicken is by far the crunchiest you will find for brunch, complementing the light and sweet waffle.
Bananas Foster French toast is another great option, with two egg-drenched slices of brioche sandwiched around cinnamon whipped cream cheese and surrounded by a thick caramel sauce and caramelized bananas. It’s sweet, huge and incredibly filling. The breakfast half of the menu is rounded out with a frittata and eggs Benedict, but there are also several lunch-style offerings, including burgers, a Reuben sandwich, salads and poke. Small plates of Buffalo-fried cauliflower, crispy fried Brussels sprouts and duck-fat fries add a little something extra for those who like to nibble. Head chef DJ Nagle says he loves to create exciting new brunch options; he's already received attention for his dinner menu, helping Briar Common win our Best Brewery Restaurant award this year.
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The beers are named after family, friends and hometown landmarks. Kent elaborated on Greg’s brewing talents, noting that “as experimental as he is, he aims for balance and drinkability.” He also points out Greg's dedication to serving great beer, recalling a batch made with a new type of hops that didn’t age the way they had hoped. “It didn’t represent our commitment to quality, so we dumped eight kegs of it,” he explains.
Whether you're craving a filling order of chicken and waffles with a strong IPA or a light frittata and all the mimosas you can drink, Briar Common has what you're looking for on the weekend. In addition to the satisfying food, there's also a small patio at street level and a rooftop deck overlooking Jefferson Park. Buckle up for smooth jazz, hefty portions and an eclectic beer menu.
Brunch is served at Briar Common Brewery from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday. Call 720-512-3894 or visit the restaurant's website for more information.